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A way-too-early look at the 2023 draft class
Following their third loss in four games, it’s pretty clear that the Los Angeles Rams have a plethora of issues. From the offensive line, secondary, and overall depth of the roster, serious question marks have been raised.
It’s still extremely early, but with 10 picks in the upcoming draft, I thought it would be a good exercise to see what the Rams could be looking at going into April and how they can fix some of their current issues.
We saw how quickly a team can fall from the top like the Rams have. However, this is still a team with talent and their issues are fixable with an offseason of work.
This mock draft was done with Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator. Again, this is still extremely early. Most of these rankings will not remain the same as we get closer to April. Players will continue to rise and fall throughout the remainder of the college football season and draft process.
42nd Overall – OT Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
The Rams may have their left tackle of the future in Alaric Jackson. If that’s the case, they could arguably move Joe Noteboom inside to left guard. Bergeron has been solid at left tackle at Syracuse this season and is someone that could be moved inside. The Rams can’t move on from Noteboom until after 2023, but Bergeron would give them an insurance policy and depth short-term.
Today is a $$$ opportunity for #Syracuse LT Matthew Bergeron. He has played really well this season and boosted his draft stock.
But Myles Murphy will be unlike any other pass rusher he has seen thus far in 2022. A strong performance vs. Clemson and Bergeron will keep climbing
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 22, 2022
The Rams like their tackles to have good lateral movement and have the ability to block in space. This is an area where Bergeron excels.
73rd Overall – EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington
It’s time for the Rams to put some priority on a second edge rusher. They need someone who can get to the quarterback opposite of Leonard Floyd. This season, Bralen Trice leads power five edge rusher in pass-rush win-rate.
Bralen Trice: 31% pass rush win rate this season
Leads all Power Five Edge Rushers pic.twitter.com/EfuT0vYEdG
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 3, 2022
The issue here is that Trice’s stock is going to significantly rise come next April. He may not get first-round buzz, but as a late first or even second-round pick, it’s possible. For now, I’ll take advantage of him being available. Some have already argued that he’s better than Joe Tryon who went late in the first two years ago.
5th Round Comp Pick – RB Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kentucky
It wouldn’t be a Rams draft without taking a running back. With Darrell Henderson’s contract set to expire and the team possibly moving on from Akers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take another running back.
Chris Rodriguez Jr put on a monster performance vs Miss State in Week 7 @UKFootball pic.twitter.com/LxIBMh3kad
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 18, 2022
Rodriguez Jr. has experience with Liam Coen in their time at Kentucky together. Under Coen, the Kentucky running back had 1,379 yards in 2021 and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. He’s someone who can run between the tackles and isn’t afraid to get physical with defenders. This is the type of running back that the Rams have missed since Sony Michel left.
5th Round Comp Pick – S Kenny Logan Jr., Kansas
The Rams are going to need to re-load at safety. Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp are both free agents. That would leave the Rams with Terrell Burgess, Quentin Lake, and Jordan Fuller at safety.
Kansas senior S Kenny Logan Jr is one of the top safety prospects in CFB
Rangy backend speed (watch the clip!) AND effective/willing downhill in run support and defending alleys
6’0 210lbs w/ 4.4 speed & over 400+ special team snaps (kick returning ++). Tackling machine in 2021 pic.twitter.com/s4GzywLxtG
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) July 29, 2022
Logan would fit in the current Scott role on defense. The Rams like their defensive backs to have good ball skills and versatility. He’s had two or more interceptions in each of the last two years and has lined up at free safety, in the box, and in the slot.
171st Overall – CB Tiawan Mullen, Indiana
The Rams are going to need depth at the cornerback position. Robert Rochell has yet to make an impact. David Long continues to be underwhelming. With all that, Derion Kendrick has been forced on the field. Kendrick is a good depth piece. He’s not someone you want as your number two cornerback.
Mullen had 15 pass breakups two years ago. He hasn’t hit that same level of production, but he fits the Rams mold at cornerback. He has inside-outside versatility and could replace Long in that aspect. Unlike Kendrick, he also has long speed to keep up with wide receivers.
174th Overall – OG Kenneth Horsey, Kentucky
If one thing has been clear this season, it’s that the Rams need depth on the interior of their offensive line. Horsey is a good fit from a physical standpoint and like Rodriguez Jr. has experience in Liam Coen’s offense.
Kenneth Horsey 68 & Eli Cox 75
DOUBLE WHAMMY!!! @UKFootball #BigBlueWall pic.twitter.com/WDAQB44lvd
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 4, 2021
Horsey is a little undersized, but can be good in space. As a sixth-round pick, he’s a good depth piece with experience in the scheme.
184th Overall – TE Josh Whyle, Cincinnati
The Rams need a tight end option outside of Tyler Higbee. Brycen Hopkins finished last season well, but behind him the Rams have Jacob Harris who didn’t make the 53-man roster and Kendall Blanton
Not every TE class has a mid-round guy like George Kittle, but that doesn’t stop us from projecting someone to be the next Kittle and that guy could be Josh Whyle, Cincinnati
+ 6’6 235, great length
+ exceptional blocker
+ 0 drops in 2020
– underutilized as a receiver pic.twitter.com/qeAUhGnhWG
— Brandon Coyle (@CoyleNfl) July 5, 2021
Whyle is someone that the Rams could use in the fullback role that they currently have used Ben Skowronek is. Whyle has lined up as the H-Back/Fullback this season, but can also line up out wide as a receiver and be a threat in the passing game.
6th Round Comp Pick – S Xavier Henderson, Michigan State
Similarly to the Logan Jr. pick, the Rams need depth at safety, especially if they lose both Scott and Rapp. Like Long Jr., he’s position versatile with the ability to play at free safety and in the box. Additionally, he’s someone that fits the culture as a mature player with strong leadership skills.
XAVIER HENDERSON GETS THE BALL BACK FOR THE SPARTANS #GoGreen pic.twitter.com/UtUHudMIp9
— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) November 5, 2022
Henderson is someone who could replace the current role filled by Rapp as a box safety who is very good at reading and reacting to the play. He’s a disciplined player who can also help in run support.
200th Overall – OT Nick Broeker, Ole Miss
This would be a third offensive line selection in this draft. The Rams seem to always take an offensive linemen late. Last year it was AJ Arcuri. They’ve also taken Tremayne Anchrum late in the draft as well.
RB Zach Evans (TCU transfer) has a ton of talent. Made my preseason top-50.
WR Jonathan Mingo is a good size/speed athlete w/ large hands. Likely 3rd-5th round range.
LG Nick Broeker has some balance issues, but is a solid player. Also in the mid-rounds. I like CB Prince also. https://t.co/DHDGehsS67
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 29, 2022
Broeker has guard-tackle versatility with good short-area quickness. He’s not the strongest player, but as someone who can make an image in the Rams’ zone-blocking scheme, he’s someone worth developing.
7th Round Comp Pick – CB Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama
Luter Jr. ranked third in the FBS last year in passes defended to go along with four interceptions. A big reason for this is his extremely long arms. He’ll get knocked for playing at South Alabama, but the talent and ability is there.
61) Darrell Luter Jr. (@Luter01_), CB, @SouthAlabamaFB
“Luter’s top statistic is the simple fact that quarterbacks finished with a 0.0 passer rating when targeting him.”
Rankings 1-100 ⤵️https://t.co/3a0TGhqJb2pic.twitter.com/BqMItkoFTR
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) August 24, 2022
The Rams need to bring some playmakers into their secondary. Luter Jr. would add to a very young group, but certainly someone that the Rams could develop into a promising player.